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Soft Skills Required in the Legal Secretary Profession

Written by: Evie Courtier in association with Institute of Legal Secretaries & PAs
Published on: 20 Jun 2023

Legal Secretary Skills

TotallyLegal, brings you the latest advice from our partners at the Institute of Legal Secretaries & PAs (ILSPA), on how to gain and develop the skills required to excel in a Legal Secretary job role.

Progress and thrive throughout your Legal Secretary career, by developing our top five skills for success.

Developing Initiative:

As a Legal Secretary, you will be entrusted with a range of duties and responsibilities which require cultivating a reasonable level of initiative. While it is not expected that you resolve every matter independently, it is crucial to assume responsibility and act in a decisive manner once you have been instructed on how to address the issue in hand. Striking a balance between completing tasks and discerning the appropriate time to seek assistance is therefore paramount. .

Reflecting upon a situation where you had to make an independent decision can enhance your confidence. Whether the decision had a positive or negative outcome, there is great value in learning from the experience and thinking about how things could have been done differently.

Working in a Team:

The ability to conduct collaborative teamwork is an indispensable factor in almost every job role. Teamwork within a Legal Secretarial role transcends beyond the ability to listen and take on board the opinions and advice of others. It’s rooted in working towards a common goal as part of a unit, discussing and understanding client’s needs and handling the overflow of fellow colleagues.

Legal Secretary jobs require empathetic candidates, able to boost the morale of the workplace. Within a team, demonstrating active listening skills and incorporating the perspectives and guidance of others are vital. By fostering effective collaboration with your colleagues, you establish a positive and reliable reputation for yourself, thereby enhancing not only your self-assurance but also your standing with your employer, which can facilitate career advancement.

According to the 2023 TotallyLegal Salary Survey, 100% of our Legal PA community now conducts a hybrid working model, with 54% of Legal Secretaries following suit. The rise of hybrid working makes the ability to work well in a team even more important. Interactions with colleagues across virtual platforms, through email, telephone, or online platforms like Zoom, not only help to culminate team culture, yet have the potential to foster stronger relationships and help to complete collective objectives in an efficient manner.

Working Under Pressure and Problem Solving:

Working in a busy legal department requires you to turn around large amounts of work under tight deadlines. Being able to stay calm and focused will enable you to work efficiently and get everything done. Setting your own deadline ahead of the official cut off point will grant you enough time to deal with any issues that may crop up. Consider planning and prioritising correctly, so that the most important tasks are done first. Ask for advice from other Legal PAs and your network on how they plan their work and consider developing your own system to get things done.

Legal Secretary and/or Legal PA jobs can include working with a challenging colleague, client or situation which requires your input in order to be resolved. Utilising problem solving skills allows you to use powers of logic, rationality and analysis in a calm way to find a solution to any problem that may occur within the workplace.

Paying Attention to Detail:

Legal Secretaries have to produce legal documents to a faultless standard. This requires an exemplary level of attention to detail. Take time to pay attention to the instructions you have been given, and carefully proofread your work.


Discover the latest Legal Secretary and Legal PA jobs available at TotallyLegal.

Discover our Legal Secretary Job Description / Legal PA Job Description for further insight into the legal business support profession.

Reach out to The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs - a professional body who are dedicated to your career every step of the way. Whether you would like to become a Legal Secretary or advance your Legal Secretary career, they are there to support you through your journey.

Know a Legal PA worthy of winning the prestigious ‘Legal PA of the Year’ accolade? Nominate yourself, or an esteemed colleague for the award, with our sister site, SecsintheCity, today.


Nominate Here